Ben Roethlisberger was ruled out for the 2019 season on Monday as it was announced he will need surgery on his elbow. There is some thought, however, that the repercussions may be even greater than that.
Roethlisberger is facing a difficult rehab and will be 38 by the time he’s healthy enough to play in an NFL game again. Several reporters wondered if this will prompt the quarterback to think about retirement, including well-respected longtime Steelers reported Ed Bouchette of The Athletic.
This could end Ben’s career https://t.co/LoJOx6VRtb
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) September 16, 2019
It seems fair to wonder if we've seen the last of Big Ben. He's already talked about retirement in the past. This will involve long, arduous rehab. https://t.co/TAvBAjSBgZ
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) September 16, 2019
Roethlisberger openly flirted with retirement following the 2016 season, but it hasn’t really come up again since. Still, opening the door to it once kind of put the thought in everyone’s head. He has cited injuries and quality of life after football as reasons to consider quitting, but this injury is to his elbow, not his head or anything that could severely impact him long-term.
On the other hand, Roethlisberger signed a two-year contract before the season that runs through 2021, indicating that retirement has not been on his mind lately. It’s entirely possible he’ll want to see that out, but the storyline absolutely bears watching.
Ben Roethlisberger left Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks with an elbow injury that the Pittsburgh Steelers hoped was minor, but unfortunately that is not the case.
The Steelers announced on Monday that Roethlisberger will undergo surgery on his right elbow and miss the remainder of the 2019 season. Head coach Mike Tomlin issued a statement saying the decision came after doctors reviewed the 37-year-old’s MRI.
Roethlisberger has dealt with numerous injuries throughout his career, but he has been able to play through many of them. The elbow injury was apparently something he had sustained prior to Sunday’s game, as one Steelers player said the QB was battling inflammation last week.
With Roethlisberger out for the year and the Steelers having lost their first two games, things are not looking good in Pittsburgh. Second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph was fairly sharp in relief of Roethlisberger on Sunday (12-of-19 passing for 112 yards, two touchdowns and an interception) but the Steelers were struggling before Big Ben went down. They will have a hard time making the playoffs now.
Ben Roethlisberger was forced to sit out the entire second half against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday after he hurt his elbow, and it sounds like the injury could potentially be serious.
Roethlisberger is expected to have an MRI on Monday that will help determine if he needs to undergo elbow surgery, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The 37-year-old quarterback wants to avoid going under the knife so he can keep playing, but that decision will be left up to doctors.
A decision is expected today on whether Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger will need elbow surgery, per league sources. Roethlisberger wants to avoid it all costs, but ultimately doctors will decide whether that’s possible.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 16, 2019
Roethlisberger’s injury was of the non-contact variety, which all but rules out the possibility that he sustained some sort of bump or bruise.
Pittsburgh Steelers players expressed concern about Roethlisberger’s injury after the game, with one player saying the QB had been battling inflammation in his elbow leading up to Sunday. It’s possible Roethlisberger has some sort of ligament issue. He completed 8-of-15 passes for 75 yards before departing, and he was seen wincing in pain on multiple occasions.
If there’s any silver lining for the Steelers, it is that second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph looked fairly sharp in relief of Roethlisberger on Sunday. The former Oklahoma State star completed 12-of-19 passes for 112 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s elbow injury apparently had some foreshadowing during practice this past week.
Roethlisberger went down in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks with an injury to his throwing elbow. He did not return for the second half of the 28-26 loss, and there was little word on his status going forward immediately after the game.
It turns out that this was not out of the blue. One Steelers player told ESPN’s Dianna Russini that Roethlisberger had spent the week battling elbow inflammation.
Inside the Steelers’ locker room players obviously concerned about the health of Ben Roethlisberger.
One player told me that the team actually was aware that the QB was dealing with some elbow inflammation all week at practice. #Steelers
— Dianna (@diannaESPN) September 15, 2019
Roethlisberger was in considerable discomfort during the first half. He was spotted wincing and flexing the elbow on more than one occasion, so it may well have been bothering him from the start of the game. He hadn’t been particularly effective, either, going 8-of-15 for 75 yards before departing.
Don’t be surprised if this latest development only further convinces one NFL legend that Roethlisberger is not long for the NFL.
Ben Roethlisberger suffered an elbow injury in the first half of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Roethlisberger was seen flexing his right arm and wincing while grabbing his elbow/forearm area on more than one occasion. He remained in the game at the time, but he was clearly experiencing some sort of discomfort and headed to the locker room before halftime.
Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger headed to the locker room with 2 minutes left in first half…
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 15, 2019
The Steelers later announced that Roethlisberger suffered an elbow injury, and he was replaced by Mason Rudolph in the second half.
The Steelers were looking to bounce back after their 33-3 blowout loss to the New England Patriots in Week 1. Roethlisberger completed 8-of-15 passes for 75 yards on Sunday prior to heading to the locker room to be examined.
It is no secret that Ben Roethlisberger had serious issues with Antonio Brown on both a personal and professional level when the two were teammates, but the drama between the two has left many wondering if the quarterback has trouble getting along with other Pittsburgh Steelers players. At the very least, it seems clear that Big Ben is far from a perfect leader.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler interviewed more than 25 people — including current and former teammates — about Roethlisberger’s leadership skills and work habits. While many were complimentary of the two-time Super Bowl champion and pointed to a body of work that speaks for itself, the overall theme is that Big Ben can improve as a leader and has been making efforts to do so.
One current Steelers player who is described as having “quality starter experience” told Fowler he has no relationship with Roethlisberger. That seems to be true of other players as well, as former Pittsburgh running back Josh Harris says Roethlisberger didn’t speak with him for over a month after he was promoted from the practice squad in 2014. Even then, Big Ben only made an effort to establish a relationship with Harris when Le’Veon Bell went down with an injury in Week 17.
“That’s where it kind of rubs people the wrong way,” Harris said. “When you come out and [criticize a teammate the way Roethlisberger has with Brown] and there is no preexisting relationship, [it’s harder to] say, ‘OK, he’s saying this because he wants me to be a better player.'”
Veteran linebacker Vince Williams said he thinks some younger players are “starstruck” by Roethlisberger, and he has told the quarterback it’s on him to become more approachable. Roethlisberger acknowledges that, and it’s one of the reasons he hosted teammates at his home in Georgia during the offseason.
After the 2018 season, Brown went scorched-earth on Roethlisberger and criticized him for having an “owner mentality.” One current Steelers player referred to Big Ben as “the owner” while speaking with Fowler.
Then there’s the idea of special treatment, which you could easily argue Roethlisberger has earned. However, several former Steelers players who have played with other QBs said they were surprised Roethlisberger takes days off from practice, usually using Wednesdays as rest days.
“Fair or not, one player said, Roethlisberger’s penchant for missing practices almost weekly and then coaching players hard when he participates can seem to suggest that everyone is on his time,” Fowler wrote.
The Steelers have spoken a lot about having better chemistry now that Brown and Bell are out of the picture, but they will be leaning heavily on Roethlisberger to help them find a new (or old?) identity. While Big Ben has had plenty of current and former teammates enthusiastically defend his leadership abilities, he clearly falls short in some areas.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers could not have gotten off to a much worse start to the season with their 33-3 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday night, and Deion Sanders thinks a few more performances like that could inspire the star quarterback to walk away from football a lot sooner than expected.
How much sooner? Sanders said after Sunday’s game that he does not think Roethlisberger will make it through the 2019 season.
— NFL GameDay (@NFLGameDay) September 9, 2019
“I think mentally, physically, something’s gonna shut down, because what I saw today was a lackluster effort by the offense, by the defense, by the coaching staff, by everyone,” Sanders said. “He seemed not engaged. There was no big-play ability, no running game, nothing ever got going defensively. He seemed disinterested.
“We’ve all heard the murmurs of Big Ben saying he would like to retire. The way they played today, a couple more of those games, I think that would happen.”
Roethlisberger openly contemplated retirement two years ago, but that seemed like it was more about him being frustrated after a poor performance than anything. He has since gone out of his way to squash the retirement talk, and it seems highly unlikely that he would bail on the Steelers midseason.
All that said, Roethlisberger is 37 and has battled some injuries throughout his career. If the 2019 season turns out to be a disappointment and the Steelers miss the playoffs, it would not be a surprise if Big Ben makes it his last.